Lime Wire, Web Music Distributor, Ordered to Block File-Sharing Service

Lime Wire LLC, operator of a website found liable for inducing the infringement of music copyrights, was ordered to disable its program that allows users to download, upload and trade music recordings.

U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood in New York ordered the file-sharing website operator to cease all “distribution and support” of its P2P file-sharing service, Lime Wire spokeswoman Tiffany Guarnaccia said today in an e-mailed statement. The court injunction wasn’t immediately available online.

In a case brought by the four largest record companies, Wood in May found Lime Wire liable for inducing copyright infringement by allowing users to download recordings without authorization. Wood said a trial in January will determine the damages to be paid by Lime Wire and its founder, Mark Gorton. The amount of damages will depend on the number of infringed works.

“Naturally, we’re disappointed with this turn of events,” Lime Wire Chief Executive Officer George Searle said in a statement. “However, at this time, we have no option but to cease further distribution and support of our software.”

Lime Wire “remains open for business,” Searle said in the statement, and the company is “creating a completely new music service.”

The complaint was brought by labels operated by Vivendi SA’s Universal Music Group, Sony Corp.’s Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group Corp. and Terra Firma Capital Partners Ltd.’s EMI Group unit.

The court injunction will “start to unwind the massive piracy machine that Lime Wire and Gorton used to enrich themselves immensely,” Jonathan Lamy, a spokesman for the Recording Industry Association of America, said in an e-mailed statement.

The labels’ case is Arista Records LLC v. Lime Wire LLC, 06-05936, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

To contact the editor responsible for this story: David E. Rovella at drovella@bloomberg.net.

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